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KFC is testing Beyond Meat plant-based fried chicken

No chance in hell that Colonel Sanders could have imagined this day when he founded his friendly chicken joint Kentucky Fried Chicken back in 1952.

From that point to this very day, KFC has hawked wings, breasts and drum sticks ripped from the carcass of ever fatter farm-raised chickens. Until now. Yum Brands-owned KFC (YUM) said Monday it will launch “Beyond Fried Chicken” in partnership with the surging plant-based food purveyor Beyond Meat (BYND).

“KFC is an iconic part of American culture and a brand that I, like so many consumers, grew up with. To be able to bring Beyond Fried Chicken, in all of its KFC inspired deliciousness to market, speaks to our collective ability to meet the consumer where they are and accompany them on their journey. My only regret is not being able to see the legendary Colonel himself enjoy this important moment, ” said Ethan Brown, founder and CEO, Beyond Meat in a statement.

The quick details as you salivate before lunch:

  • If you are not in the Atlanta area, don’t expect to grab “Beyond Fried Chicken.” KFC is calling this a test at one location in Smyrna, Ga.

  • Said test kicks off August 27.

  • Both nuggets and boneless wings are available. A six-piece or 12-piece combo meal (includes a side and a drink) will set you back $6.49 and $8.49, respectively. This is a decent discount to KFC’s normal prices for each combo, likely to drive trial of the product among consumers. For instance, a 12-piece boneless chicken tender combo at KFC is about $12.99.

  • Beyond Meat nor KFC disclosed the calorie counts or ingredients of the plant-based chicken. But Beyond Meat’s grilled chicken contains about 20 ingredients — the main one being pea protein.

Beyond Meat KFC
Credit: Beyond Meat

No doubt this is a win win for both KFC and Beyond Meat right out of the box. For KFC, it can drive some much-needed buzz (same-store sales have only risen 2% at KFC year to date) ahead of the inevitable larger rollout. And when that happens, KFC will have a popular item on the menu ... priced at a premium to most other things it sells.

As for Beyond Meat, its stock has plunged 34% the past month since it surprised Wall Street in late July with a secondary offering. The test at KFC will go a long way to remind investors of the company’s potential with major fast food chains. Already this year, Beyond Meat has debuted breakfast sandwiches at Dunkin’ Donuts to a burger at Canadian-based Tim Hortons to meatless meatballs at Subway.

Ball is back in your court, Impossible Foods — maybe the fish you are reportedly working on finds itself on the menus at Red Lobster?

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and co-host of The First Trade at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @BrianSozzi

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